Lord’s Mountain Orphanage in Zambia is an EngageMI ministry partner. Buildings were constructed by gifts of the West Michigan Conference. Hope is built by God’s love.
If you’re looking for a safe African adventure, visiting the Lord’s Mountain Orphanage is the adventure for you.
The Lord’s Mountain Orphanage is one of the EngageMI ministry partners that the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church has highlighted for support. Many churches in western Michigan helped construct the buildings for this ministry. Lord’s Mountian Orphanage is currently in a desperate crisis and needs our continued and sustained support.
My wife, Holly, and I recently took a trip to the Lord’s Mountain Orphanage (LMO) in Zambezi, Zambia with some friends from our small group.
Our first few days in Zambia were spent in Kitwe with Delbert and Sandy Groves at the New Life Center. Sandy and Delbert facilitate many projects at the center and are terrific hosts. New Life Center provides programs in computer literacy, tutoring, feeding, and sewing ministries. Their PET factory gives those unable to walk an opportunity to be a part of life again.
We then moved on to the Lord’s Mountain Orphanage to meet Bernard and Betty Lumene.
The Lumenes started as Congolese missionaries to northern Zambia under the Missioners of Hope Program of the General Board of Global Ministries. Bernard initially focused on the care and feeding of AIDS orphans. Ultimately, he and Betty started the orphanage. He responded to the biblical command to take care of the widows and orphans. In African society, to be an orphan generally means that not only have parents died but that uncles and grandparents are also gone.
Bernard and Betty work tirelessly to provide food, shelter, and education for 30-plus kids growing up in their care. There are public schools for the children, but they are not free. School fees, books, uniforms, etc. must all be covered for each student.
Bernard’s dream is to find sponsors for each graduate who enters university. When Holly and I spoke with the kids, many shared dreams of being doctors, nurses, pilots, teachers, and police. These are all essential jobs in Zambia. For instance, David, a graduate of LMO and the University of Zambia, just received his teacher training credentials and awaits placement as a teacher. The support he has received through the Advance has ensured that there will be a godly influence in the Zambian School where he is assigned. What it takes to provide a student with the opportunity for a university-trained, professional career is $3,000 a year.
The Zambian government helps choose the children who come to the orphanage, but the government does not help with the finances. Bernard is limited in how many kids he can care for because of the cost; he has room but no money. While we were there, he had to turn away five children.
Local congregations contribute where they can. For instance, while driving across northern Zambia, we stopped to pick up school uniforms donated by a Zambian church for the orphanage.
Bernard dreams of the young people getting the best education available and that all will have some level of computer literacy by the time they finish school. The kids at Lord Mountain Orphanage need more computers to research, write papers, and develop computer skills. Many are already quite internet savvy. They just need the tools to keep up. Office skills are highly marketable in Zambia and are part of what the Lumenes and Groves teach as part of their work.
When the Missioner of Hope program ended, Bernard made Lord’s Mountain Orphanage an Advance Special. That is the source of most of the funding for the orphanage. All the funding is spent on AIDS orphans, except what is specifically designated for support for the Lumene family. The pastor’s salary Bernard receives is only about $20 a month.
Lord’s Mountain Orphanage is on the forefront of a major struggle: AIDS and its consequences. The Zambian government and the local hospital have had some positive successes in treating AIDS and preventing deaths. Some children who were accepted at the orphanage in anticipation of the death of their caregivers now still have one parent or another relative still alive.
However, these children are often not sent back to their parents because of the conditions at home and the health of the parent. We visited the house of the mother of one of the students. It was a traditional one-room home with thatched roof. Termites were slowly eating the roof and the mother was not in the best condition.
Since the 2019 General Conference, Bernard has gotten many replies to his newsletter from Americans asking to be removed from the distribution list. Donations are down. While he cannot be sure the General Conference action is the reason, he is discouraged but continues to do his best to meet the children’s needs.
Bernard estimates it costs about $4,000 a month to run the orphanage effectively. Consistent monthly gifts are a blessing.
You can be sure that 100% of your gift will go to the children at Lord’s Mountain Orphanage when you give through The Advance, Project #14420T. Regular contributions may be sent through your local church, designated to Lord’s Mountain Orphanage, or give online.